Shoulder exoskeleton with four degrees of freedom
We have developed a shoulder exoskeleton with four degrees of freedom (4DOF) which is light, low profile, portable and avoids kinematic singularity.
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Shoulder exoskeletons typically have three degrees-of-freedom (3DOF) which mimic the 3DOF of the glenohumeral (GH) joint (ball-and-socket joint). In spite of this, the exoskeleton inevitably restricts range of motion (ROM) of the GH joint. Our design has 4DOF whose axes of rotation coincide to form a virtual spherical joint — enabling support throughout a larger range of human motion. Should two axes of rotation ever become collinear, creating a singularity, the exoskeleton still allows 3DOF assistance to be provided. A singularity is a high-risk event for the user and other people or objects in proximity of the device since it is difficult to control the action of the exoskeleton in that position. The extra DOF also means the mechanism does not collide with the user’s body, increasing its range of motion.
- Provides full range of motion of the shoulder GH joint.
- Does not impede the user’s range of motion.
- Avoids kinematic singularity.
- Light weight and portable, currently there are no shoulder exoskeletons available for use at home or in the field.
- Rehabilitation for patients suffering from stroke, motor neuron disease or spinal cord injuries — either to help patients or support therapists/carers.
- Assisted living for people with disabilities.
- Manufacturing tasks which are physically intensive and can lead to personal injury or repetitive procedures requiring high levels of precision.
- Defence activities working with heavy, high-value or high-risk components.
Status and IP Position
A patent application for this technology has been filed and UTS is seeking a partner to license this technology or to work with the researchers to develop it further.
If you are interested in working with our researchers to develop any of our technologies, please contact the UTS Commercialisation Team: